More than a decade ago, it was a common occurrence for families to rally up in the living room at tea-time, make a brew, and watch their favourite TV programmes (or programmes that they hated, but had to withstand anyway, *cough* Emmerdale). It was a staple of British culture which brought families closer together, even during seemingly never-ending feuds with siblings. Although you could argue that shows like Gogglebox still portrays the concept of 2000’s family orientated TV viewing, the reality is, the way we consume entertainment has already changed. Children and teenagers are now fixated on watching programmes on laptops & mobile devices, and ‘binge viewing’ has become a trend amongst adults, with an estimated 40 million luxuriating in this behaviour. The shift in viewing habits from TV to streaming is continuing to shake the TV industry, with marketers using more cost-effective mediums of advertising such as YouTube, Google, and other social channels. This insight delves into what has changed in TV viewing, what the future of broadcasting could look like and how this can affect our marketing efforts going forward.
What’s Different? We Demand Choice, and Flexibility
The broadcast business model has been under pressure to constantly adapt to new ways that TV audiences are consuming their daily fix. TV on-the-go has been the norm for some time now, with technological developments such as 4G, catch-up TV and video-on-demand, allowing consumers to stream their favourite TV programmes pretty much anywhere with a signal.
A report by IBM found that two-thirds of consumers are looking for ‘changes to make the whole TV experience better’. Standard broadcasting won’t be enough to generate enough attention in the next 10 years. That’s why broadcasters needed to re-evaluate their value chain and muster up new strategies in order to retain attention and revenue.
In addition to on-demand, you now see broadcasters taking a stab at social media marketing, to drive consumers to watch their programmes on either satellite TV, on-demand, or highlights on their social media pages. ITV do particularly well at this, especially during the broadcast of I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here. The show succeeds in satellite TV ratings anyhow, but enhanced their revenue by utilising social media marketing to give prospective viewers FOMO (Fear-of-Missing-Out), by injecting their attention spans with the best highlights of each episode on Facebook. The receiver will do one of two things; scroll on, or click the link to watch an episode on-demand. ITV are amongst the plethora of broadcast companies (BBC, Channel 4, Channel 5, etc.) using social media marketing to capture audiences that have gradually shifted from satellite TV to online. We have plenty of choices when it comes to watching and discovering our favourite programmes, creating challenging times ahead for the TV industry.
Viewing Behaviour Amongst Younger & Older Demographics
We currently live in a fragmented viewing environment which varies within age groups. The times of shared viewing are slowly disappearing, due to different tastes in entertainment, easily accessible by laptop or mobile devices. The latest report by Ofcom revealed that across all devices, people’s total daily viewing amounted to five hours and one minute a day. 71% was made up of broadcast TV, 29% was of non-broadcast content such as YouTube, Amazon Prime, and Netflix.
Broadcast TV is still a preferred choice of entertainment, people are just utilising other means of technology to access it. Viewing on the TV set however, has declined approximately 38 minutes (15.7%) since 2012. This has been majorly influenced by younger viewers, as 16-34-year-olds watch approximately two hours 37 minutes of broadcasted content a day across all devices, and two hours 11 minutes of non-broadcasted content. Subscription-on-demand services are more popular with younger viewers that seek more choice for their daily dose of entertainment.
YouTube is one of the most popular channels for entertainment viewing right now. Generation Z actually prioritise YouTube viewing over traditional TV, as a majority see YouTube as a main source of knowledge and feel connected with peers if they view YouTube videos together. Even considering the children of the millennial, Gen Alpha, those born in 2010-2013 will most likely be watching programmes on a device right now. They view YouTube above everything. The method of success, lies with a YouTube influencer leveraging influencer marketing via several platforms, targeting Gen Z and Gen Alpha as core markets.
The rise in popularity of YouTube influencers such as Shane Dawson, Zoella, DanTDM, Jake Paul etc. have captured the mindsets of young people and are the TV presenters of 2020, in the world of influencer marketing. It’s interesting to look at how popular influencer marketing has shaped the lives of so many young people. Instagram for example, sees models, make-up artists and bloggers as driving influencers to lifestyle on the platform. Platforms such as Twitch and Patreon, house influencers in the gaming community that earn more than Hollywood stars. For example, Ninja, a Fortnite gaming star, made around £7.9 million in 2018 from his Twitch streams and YouTube, with the rest of the income from sponsorships. Fascinating!
In terms of the older demographic, over-54’s now contribute to more than half of all TV broadcast viewing in the UK. A different study by AgeUK, surveyed 500 over ’60s into their viewing habits. It was interesting to discover that they found over 26% of the respondents regularly use streaming services (Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime). Perhaps a reason for the majority of older people lacking in going online with their TV viewing, is because they aren’t familiar with the technology required to access such content. However, there hasn’t been a time where it’s more convenient to watch TV, so the next 10 years could see an increase in streaming content, within the older demographic.
The Future of Broadcasting
If the content is engaging enough, TV will always be a satisfying medium for broadcasters and for marketers to retain a positive ROI. The premise of watching TV will never go away, but the different formats and devices to access it, will quickly change in the short-term. Non-broadcast content will see a rise, especially with companies such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, as more people will want more diverse content.
For millennials and Gen Z, IGTV (Instagram TV) and Snapchat TV could disrupt the way we usually consume TV. Despite it being in its early stages, IGTV is quickly becoming a popular format of entertainment for younger people. It is a platform within Instagram that allows content creators of popularity, or influencers, to broadcast 10 to 60-minute videos on their own channel within IGTV. IGTV shows are broadcasted in a vertical format, which fits the size of a smartphone screen. Snapchat TV, follows the same concept. However, instead of user-generated content, Snapchat launched ‘Snap Originals’ in October 2018, which consists of 12 original shows lasting around four or five minutes, with six-second ad intervals. Snapchat already has partnerships with several companies (NBC, CBS, ESPN, etc.) and released shows on their app generating millions of viewers every month, so it’s likely that Snapchat TV could be a disruptor in the TV industry in the future.
How can Marketers Adapt to These Changes?
Ultimately, adapting to changes in any industry requires forward thinking, a keen eye on the latest trends & developments, and the tools to keep up with technological advancements. Marketers working in the TV industry will already be aware and careful on where to spend their budgets; OTT (Over-the-Top) is already a major disruptor and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. As companies are introducing more mediums to watching TV, more space will be introduced for ads. This gives marketers more opportunities to attract new audiences, especially for products that will target millennials and Gen Z’s.
Currently, social media is very important for marketers working within the TV industry. It’s essential to continue creating snackable and engaging content for viewers to keep attention and maintain long-term loyalty with fans, as more people spend their time online. The future of TV is exciting, embrace the change.